A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Work

Well…that was interesting.

I have this heart condition called PSVT.  Go ask Uncle Google what that means, I’ll wait right here

*looks at purple nail polish, wonders if it screams ‘look at me’ too much, decides she doesn’t care*

You back?

So, it’s not  a walk in the park, but it’s not the worst thing you can have either. 

Up until last week it was, for me, more of an annoyance than anything.  I’d have these, these…episodes? spells?events?….not sure what they are called…once every couple of months.

Then, last Monday happened and the ‘ON’ switch was flipped and no amount of cold water, coughing, holding my breath, or any of the other tricks that didn’t involve live toads and a Mariachi band, was working to get my heart to simmer down.

By Thursday morning, when I went to see my cardiologist, I was going nuts.  The plan was to see him, get something to slow my heart, and go on to work.

Heh..heh..yeah, right.

I was also getting a kick-ass cardio workout every 20-30 minutes as my heart would zoom to 160+ beats per minute and stay there for extended periods.

Did I mention this is painful?

I should have, my bad.

In the doctor’s office I had two episodes – one they caught on the EKG – and when he examined me we had this conversation:

ME:  So, what is going on?

Dr. Cardio:  You appear to be having a significant *event*.

ME: Wha..?

Dr. Cardio: And, I want to admit you to the hospital right now.

ME: WHA…?

Dr. Cardio: We need to get *telemetry on you for 24 hours and do some other tests.

ME: WHA…?!  (yes, I am soooo glib)

Dr. Cardio:  And the hospital is right next door to this building, but I think I should take you.

ME: *finally regaining my composure* No, no…that won’t be necessary.

Dr. Cardio:  It is. I don’t want you leaving.

ME: I’m not leaving, but I’ve been dealing with this for four days and I think I can get myself next door.

Dr. Cardio: Okay, wait here and I will get the orders written for a direct admit.

*I use this time to call hubby and tell him what’s going on, and can he come right away and bring me some stuff.  He’s the only one in the room not surprised by the news*

I’ve found out something interesting about hospitals.

If you are admitted as a “chest pain” patient, you get really fast service.

Really.Fast.

Within an hour I was dressed in a lovely hospital gown – and really, is hideous, huge and not user-friendly the only way  these come? – hooked up to the telemetry, and being poked and prodded by lab technicians.

I was also given a *miracle* drug called Cardizem. 

Go ask Uncle Google.

*stares some more at her purple fingernails…decides they’re awesomesauce*

Within an hour of getting it my heart calmed.  In fact, it calmed so much that I’m pretty sure the nurses were beginning to think I was nuts as my rhythm was normal and perfect.

All day, all night my heart acted like I was a crazed hypochondriac screaming for attention.  It totally behaved and produced a beautiful picture for the technicians assigned to watch me.

At midnight all food, water and meds were withheld.  I was to have a couple of tests run in the morning. One involved a radioactive isotope injection and picture session for my heart, and the other was a chemical stress test.  Both are designed to check for blockages and functionality.

At 10:00 a.m. Friday morning I went to the lab for the first picture-taking session.  No sooner had I laid on the table, and been admonished NOT to move and NOT to talk for the 15-minute session, than my heart took off like a hunter being chased by a polar bear with a grudge.

Of course I had to lay still and say nothing, but when the tech was finished I told her what was happening.  She sent me back to my room and my nurse came in to show me the tape of what they’d captured when I was in the lab.

ME: See! That is why I’m here.

Nurse:  Yep, this is the first time we’ve captured it.  EXCELLENT rhythm, but at 165 beats per minute your heart is working WAY too hard and not pumping efficiently.

ME: Ya think?

Nurse: Lie down and I’ll see if we can give you some Cardizem before the second half of the test.

ME: Okay.

*I lay down and now my heart decides to imitate a hummingbird on crack..the nurse rushes back in a few minutes later*

Nurse: WOW! That was 180 beats a minute and lasted for 18 minutes!

ME: *exhausted* I know.

Nurse: I can’t give you anything until after the chemical stress test.

ME: If I had the energy, I’d curse…loudly.

Nurse: *giggles*

The second trip to the lab was filled with wooziness, a racing heart, and to add to the fun – nausea.

Yay.

The good thing is all the tests revealed a perfectly *clean* heart, and Dr. Cardio said I could go home.  He also said he’d never seen a case of PSVT as bad as mine.

Of course.  That’s me, setting new standards in all the wrong areas.

I went back to my room and finally got to eat.

More importantly, I got the Cardizem and a pain pill.

The resident came to see me a couple of hours later and said they were very glad I hadn’t had a heart attack, but I have to take the Cardizem….possibly for the rest of my life.

I can eat/drink anything I want (yippee!).  I was not looking forward to a life without caffeine – a known aggravator of this condition.

I was also ordered to take it easy for a couple of weeks and come back to the ER if my heart starts racing again.

So, that’s what I’m doing…taking it easy, taking my meds, and considering re-designing the hospital gown.

Somebody get me some chocolate and Calvin Klein’s phone number!

STAT!

*telemetry – electronic heart monitoring

 

Posted on May 1, 2012, in Guess You Had to Be There, In All Seriousness, Random Crap, Too Much Information and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Telemetry – electronic monitoring various biological signals depending on the patient. This includes ECG, respiration, blood pressure, O2 saturation, EMG, etc. All signals are sent via telemetry (that is, via electrical signals; either RF or Ethernet typically) to a central monitoring station for recording and later reading/examination.

    *Whistles innocently*

  2. Taco: Showoff…

    Saucy: Glad it’s working out ok, and how many people can produce a medical expert’s validation that they have a clean heart?!?! You are a Catholic priest’s poster child! As far as the worst case ever, I always say, if you’re gonna do something, might as well be the best!

    • Yes, well don’t tell my devoutly-Catholic sister that I’m the one with the clean heart. She can haz jealous. 😉

      And, no lie, whenever I go to the doctor for something I haven’t already self-diagnosed I tell her to look for the strangest, most out-of-the-question, weirdest and extreme thing it could be and that’ll be what it is.

      I’m usually right.

      Like the time I got the mumps….on ONE side…and then three months later got them on the OTHER side.

      Who does that? Me, that’s who. The Queen of Weird Medical Anomalies.

  3. I’m so glad you’re okay! And doncha love how they talk? “You appear to be having a significant *event*.” Yep, I can see it now: I would send out engraved invites to participate in said event! Not to make light of your pain though. But to celebrate you’re being okay.

    I had to spend the night at our local hospital awhile back because of a phantom chest pressure. You’re aboslutely right – you get phenomenal treatment when you have chest issues. And phenomenal bills!

  4. (Grr. WordPress made me try to remember my password and in the process ate my comment. Here’s what I was trying to say; feel free to delete duplicate litter I’ve left on your blog.)

    This was so well-written that I think I had an event reading it.

    In all seriousness, I appreciate you putting this out there because my son (if he even remembers it) doesn’t have nearly the vocabulary to tell me what he went through. He has a different diagnosis, but the testing sounds similar. It’s nice to read about and imagine that he felt he was well-taken care of and that he felt better post-hospital than he did before.

    And congrats on still being able to indulge in caffeine!

    • Thank you, kyouell…yes WP is lovely like that, isn’t it?

      And, I’ve had so much weird shit happen to me that chances are I could come up with the appropriate descriptive phrasing for everything…possibly with the exception of the bubonic plague.

      *ducks under nearest table until curse passes*

  5. Alice Lorenz-Wilcox

    I’m glad that “the event” worked out so well! In one of my past lives, I was a cardiac nurse at a large medical center that had cardiologists who were also electrophysiologists… they look at the electrical conduction system of the heart. Cardizem is a good drug and very effective, but there are some conditions where the electrical pathways are unusual, and it might not be as effective. So, if you have another event while taking the Cardizem, don’t wait for it to resolve on it’s own, because it probably won’t.

  6. archedeyebrows

    Goodness gracious, dear lady, these are not the types of events you should be experiencing. I am glad you are feeling better and are at home with helpful medication, better fashion and a caring husband. Seriously, you Texans are a hardy lot. Stay that way, ya hear?

    😀

  7. I was going to say I’m glad you’re ok… you’re ok, right? Aside for meds for life that is, but I’m on that bandwagon and have decided it’s better than the alternative.

    It is amazing how chest pain can earn you rock star treatment. That happened to me too. I’m sure the other Vanderbilt patients were annoyed but I sure appreciated it.

    My heart rate was going up to 130 every time they stood me up but my heart performed like the aforementioned rock star during the stress test and earned me a 2 week delay on the heart cath. I am finally feeling better, the vertigo and chest pain are resolving, so I will most likely get to skip that one for now.

    Sorry for the hypocondiac ramble. I am so glad you’re ok. Keep taking it easy (I am having to also and itt’s driving me nuts…er.. nuttier!)

  8. Glad you’re doing better and gave the doctors something to talk about. Way to be the best!

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